|The Holy Spirit Influences You (2010)|
Series: The God Within: What the Holy Spirit Does (Week 2 of 2)
Woodrow Kroll: Being "under the influence"--is that a good thing? Well, it is when the influence is of the Holy Spirit.
Tami Weissert: He can sway you opinion, your desires, and your life in all the right directions.
Woodrow Kroll: Yes, he can. Find out more about the influence of the Holy Spirit in today's study. Hi, I'm Woodrow Kroll.
Tami Weissert: I'm Tami Weissert.
Woodrow Kroll: And this is Back to the Bible.
Tami Weissert: Well hi, everyone. Glad to have you join us today. Now, Wood, that phrase, "being under the influence," you know it usually has a negative connotation. But not today.
Woodrow Kroll: No, we're grabbing that phrase and turning it upside down. Being under the influence is a wonderful thing when you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Tami Weissert: OK, but if we're saved, aren't we automatically under His influence?
Woodrow Kroll: When we're saved, we're automatically open to His influence. That means He lives inside of us so the potential to live under His influence is definitely there. But sometimes we still like to go our own way and while we are open to His influence, we really can't say we're living under it.
Tami Weissert: OK then. Let's find out about how the Holy Spirit influences our lives. Here's our study.
Woodrow Kroll: You know, influence in a life is a significant thing. I read a story one time about two fatherless boys. They were raised by their mother and they lived in the center part of the U.S. They were miles from any large body of water. And yet, both of the boys when they grew up chose a career connected with the sea.
Now, no one in their family before them had been seafaring folks. And yet, one evening when both of them were home with their mother, she asked what influenced their choice. You know what they said?
They said, "Mom, it was a picture that was hanging on the wall in our bedroom of a sailing ship."
See, every day, those two Midwest boys saw that sailing ship and it influenced them to think about going to sea.
Now, if a picture hanging on a wall can influence us, just imagine what the Holy Spirit's influence is like.
Now think with me for the next few minutes about the Holy Spirit praying for you. Now remember, the Holy Spirit dwells within the body of the believer. We are His temple. We are His dwelling place. The indwelling Holy Spirit lives within us.
So, all this activity on our behalf, all of the influence He exerts on us, comes not from the outside but from the inside. So, when we say that the Holy Spirit prays for us, He does so from deep within us.
Now, nobody could be closer to your need or to your problem than the Holy Spirit of God. So, how does the Holy Spirit pray for us? Well, let me direct your attention to several passages today.
First of all in Romans, chapter 8, listen to this. This is Romans 8:26‑27. "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
"Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (NKJV).
Now I want you to notice several things about those verses.
First of all, notice our need. We do not know what we should pray for.
Now, if you've been saying "Been there, and done that," it's probably true in every one of our lives. We have had times when we simply did not know how to pray.
Maybe you have a friend who has cancer. And her condition is deteriorating, and you're asking God to show you how to pray for her. Alzheimer's may be ravishing the mind of your parents, or maybe your spouse. A son is making poor decisions with regard to his wife and family. Maybe you have a teenager hanging out with the wrong crowd. And you're just at your wit's end. You don't know what to pray for.
Well, that's our need. We do not know what we should pray for. But you see, that's how the Holy Spirit influences you.
Secondly, notice that the Spirit prays in our behalf because He knows exactly what we should pray for.
There's no problem here, folks. The Spirit of God knows exactly what you need. He knows exactly how you should pray to the Father. So, when you don't know how to pray, He still does.
Thirdly, notice this. The Spirit prays in inaudible, inexpressible sighs.
And that means that you can't hear Him praying for you. You don't understand what He's saying. But then, again, He isn't talking to you, is He? He isn't praying to you, He is praying to the Father.
That brings me to my fourth observation. The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God the Father. It's the heart or mind of the Spirit that's absolutely pure. 100 percent pure. There's no false motivation in His prayers. There's nothing to hinder Him from getting through to the Father.
And then notice this about these verses. The Spirit always prays according to the will of God.
Now, are you sure that's true of you? I'm not sure it's true of me. Sometimes I may pray for something I feel is right, but it's not the will of God. So, think about what this means. When the Spirit prays for you, He prays with a perfect heart. And He always prays according to God's will.
Now, what do you think are the chances that the Spirit's prayers won't get through to God? What do you think the chances are His prayers won't get answered?
I'd say that the chances are "nada," "none," "zilch," "zero." You talk about influence. How would you like to have someone living inside of you who knew your needs better than you knew them? Someone whose heart and mind were sinless, so that there would be no improper motivation in their prayers? Someone who always, 100 percent of the time, prayed according to God's will? How would you like to have that person praying for you?
Well, my friend, if you're a Christian, that's exactly what's happening in your life. And that's good news, isn't it? Now, in fact, that's great news. That's how the Holy Spirit influences you. He prays for you. But that's not all.
Not only does the Holy Spirit influence you by praying for you, by praying 100 percent of the time according to the will of God, by getting answers to His prayer, but the Holy Spirit also bears witness to you.
I think this is an important ingredient in how we view the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Have you ever been in a situation where you needed someone to corroborate your story? Someone to say that what you're saying is the truth?
Now, if you were dragged into court and asked to prove that you were a Christian, what would you appeal to as your testimony? Would you tell the judge, "Well, I must be a Christian. I feel so happy." Now, they may not be impressed.
Or maybe you'd say, "Well, I have to be a Christian. Why, I've attended church down at the corner since I was just a little boy
(or girl)." But, is that evidence? Will that convict you of being one committed to the cause of Jesus Christ?
See, being a Christian is far more than feeling happy. And it's a lot more than attending church. Attending church doesn't make you a Christian; any more than attending a football game makes you a player!
Oh, sure, a Christian will have a deep-seated joy; have a need to attend a Bible-believing church. But both happiness and church attendance can be experienced by people who are not born again.
No, we need a better witness than that, to our true faith in Christ. And, fortunately, friends, we have a better witness. We need a witness, a credible person to corroborate our story. And, fortunately, we have such a person.
The Person is the Holy Spirit of God. Now, that's what the Spirit of God does in your behalf.
The Spirit of God corroborates the story that you are born again.
Let me take you to a passage in 1 Corinthians. First Corinthians, chapter 2, listen to this, verse 7, 1 Corinthians 2:7‑12, Paul says, "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
"But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.' But God has revealed them to us" now listen, "through His Spirit.
"For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God" (NKJV).
Now, what the Bible says here is that when we know spiritual things, like the fact that we're born again, we know them with spiritual wisdom—not with ordinary mental wisdom.
The Spirit of God makes these things known to us. He corroborates our spiritual wisdom with His own wisdom, the wisdom of the Spirit of God—so that we can be certain that we know the truth.
You don't have to rely on what you know in your mind as to whether or not you're a believer, because the Spirit of God who knows the mind of God, lives within you, and He bears witness to your spirit that you are a born-again person.
So, if you know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior today, you have living in you, the Spirit of God, indwelling you, helping you to appreciate the fact that you are born again.
Tami Weissert: You're listening to Back to the Bible and today, we're talking about how the Holy Spirit influences us. Now Wood, the last point--that the Holy Spirit corroborates our spiritual wisdom--that's a little difficult to understand. So are you saying that the Holy Spirit conveys or gives His wisdom to us so that we can have assurance of our salvation?
Woodrow Kroll: Well, that word corroborate, it may be one we don't use very much any more, but it's a really good word. It means to say the same thing as. So if you say something to our friends listening and then I speak up and say the same thing, I have corroborated what you said. Now that's what the Spirit of God does. When we think we have learned some new truth form God's Word and the Holy Spirit impresses upon us that same truth, that's when He's corroborating our spiritual wisdom.
Tami Weissert: OK now, how exactly does that happen because it's not like He can send us an email confirmation. What should we expect?
Woodrow Kroll: Well don't rule out the email too quickly. The Spirit of God corroborates our spiritual wisdom sometimes with the spiritual wisdom of other people. That's why people write to Back to the Bible with Bible questions or even email us. God has gifted certain people in the Church with wisdom, wisdom that comes directly from God's Word. There are teachers, there are mentors, the class leader--so if we have learned a new spiritual truth from God's Word and we say to our leaders, "What do you think?" they easily could be used by the Holy Spirit of God to corroborate that truth to us and yes, they might even do it through email.
Tami Weissert: You started out today talking about the Holy Spirit praying for us and that kind of sparked a couple of thoughts and questions. First, knowing that the Holy Spirit is praying for us, well, that really lightens our load. And we don't have to get stressed or worry about if we're saying the right thing when we pray.
Woodrow Kroll: Yes, that's true, but I think even better, during those times when we don't even know how to pray or what to pray for--you know, were just sitting by the bed of our terminally ill mother or father, the Spirit of God prays for us and for our mom and dad, even though we don't know how to pray for them--that's where the real comfort comes in.
Tami Weissert: OK, here's the big question: If we're not praying, if we're not consistently praying to the Lord, does the Holy Spirit pray on our behalf?
Woodrow Kroll: I think He does. You know, just because we aren't faithful to Him doesn't mean He's not faithful to us. But remember, prayer is one of the best ways we have of becoming intimate with God. If we're not praying, we're not robbing anyone but ourselves.
Tami Weissert: Hey, have you called for your free copy of Meet with God yet? If you haven't, then make today the day. Now for those of you who don't know, Meet with God is our free monthly devotional. And for those of you who are familiar with Meet with God, we want you to know that we've changed it up a little; made it even more useful than before. Now Meet with God also includes suggestions for group discussions and assignments along with the daily readings. And we're getting a good response to our brand new "Got Kids?" section.
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Now let's return to our study with Dr. Kroll here on Back to the Bible.
Woodrow Kroll: Now, there's more in God's Word to tell us what the Spirit bears witness to—helping corroborate that we know that we are born again.
Listen to this. This is 1 John 4, the first 6 verses. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
"By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.
"We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us…By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error."
Now, do you know how you know the difference between truth and error? Do you know how when you sit down with your Bible and someone comes and tries to teach you something different or your hear something that's contrary to God's Word on the radio, do you know how you know the difference between truth and error?
We know the difference between truth and error because of the influence of the Spirit of God in us.
We know to look for telltale marks of a cult, because we know the Spirit of God is in us.
Oh, you can spot a cult a mile away, friends. First of all, they deny that Jesus Christ is God. I just read that from 1 John 4.
Anybody, and I mean anybody, anybody who comes to your door and wants to give you some literature or tell you that they're interested in your family; when you ask them if they believe Jesus Christ is just as much God as God the Father, if they hesitate for half a second, the Holy Spirit has influenced your understanding that the people who are at your door are not of God. They're part of a religious cult. They're part of a system of belief that is not found in the Bible.
They want to alienate you from the rest of your family. They don't want you to talk to your pastor. They want you to take their Bible course, or join their Bible study group.
See, all these are marks of a cult, and you will know that because the Spirit of God lives within you and He influences your thinking.
"Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
See, the Spirit of God influences you on a daily basis because He prays for you. And the Spirit of God influences you on a daily basis because, living inside of you, the Spirit of God bears witness to you that not only are you a believer, but He bears witness to you of the truth.
Ah, but I've saved the best 'til last. Let me take you back to Romans. We started in Romans 8, today. I want to go back there because Romans 8, describes for us how the Spirit of God influences us on a daily basis.
Listen to this. This is Romans 8:14-17. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'
"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together" (NKJV).
Now, for the Holy Spirit of God to bear witness with our spirit means that the Holy Spirit corroborates our story.
Our human spirit, the very seed of our spiritual understanding, our spirit can come to believe that we're saved because we've placed our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.
But we have a better witness than that. We have the Spirit of God within us bearing witness with our spirit, telling us that when we came to the point of trusting Jesus as Savior, we knew we needed a Savior, and we knew that Jesus was the only Savior we would ever have.
Now, if you're a Christian today, if you're on your way to heaven, if you are born again, born from above, you not only know that there was a time and a place in your life when you came to trust Jesus as Savior, you have the Spirit of God residing in you to corroborate your story.
Now, some of us were saved when we were children. I was only age five when I was saved. I remember the night, but I can't give you the date. I know there are some people that tell you that if you can't put your finger on the date, you're probably not saved.
I want to tell you, friends, I can't give the date I was saved, but I am just as sure as I'm a Christian, as if I was already in heaven. You know why? Because of the Spirit of God. Because of the work of the Spirit of God in my life influencing me, corroborating the story that I have come to believe Jesus Christ as Savior.
To back up my belief, God calls an expert witness, one who cannot lie. One who knows what He's talking about, one of impeccable character.
God calls on the Holy Spirit to witness to my belief that I am saved. And, therefore, He assures me that even if I don't always feel like it, even if I don't always act like it, I am a child of God.
See, it's the Holy Spirit who corroborates my story and who gives me the inclination to call God "Abba, Father."
Billy Graham once told a story about a young boy who was flying a kite. It was one of those perfect days. The wind was just right, and before long, the kite had climbed so high it couldn't be seen.
And about that time a man came along and asked the boy what he was doing. And the boy said, "I'm flying a kite."
The man looked up. He didn't see any kite. He said, "Are you sure it's still up there?"
And the boy said, "Oh, I am sure. I can't see it, but I can still feel it tugging."
You know, that's the way the Spirit of God is in our lives. We can't see Him down deep inside there, but He still influences us. He still bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. He still prays for us. He still has a strong influence on how we live our lives.
Now, I want you to think with me as I close. We are all influenced by someone. Some people are influenced by their neighbors. Others are influenced by their peers. Some people are influenced by the people at the office. Maybe by their bosses.
But, you know, if you're a Christian today, you have the influence of the Spirit of God indwelling you, convicting you of sin, promising you that Jesus Christ will cleanse you from that sin.
And see, all of that is down deep inside of you. All of that is the work of the Spirit of God in your life.
So, if you're a Christian today, thank God for a lot of things, but one of the things that you need to thank Him for is that the Spirit of God lives in you and He has an influence on your life.
You know what? As a Christian, I can't get a better influence than that.
Tami Weissert: Wood, your message today was an excellent reminder that we can count on the Holy Spirit's influence in all situations. So my question is how do we take full advantage of that influence? Because the logical part of my brain wants to say that as Christians, if we have the Holy Spirit residing in us and influencing us, everything should be great and that's not necessarily the case.
Woodrow Kroll: You know, Tami, it's kind of like having a prescription antibiotic when we're really sick. We went to the pharmacy, we got the pills, but there sitting in the cupboard about the kitchen sink. Now we have the Holy Spirit living within us, but we need to make use of His presence. We need to ask Him to make us what we need to be. He's there for that purpose, just like that prescription is there for that purpose. We just have to use it.
Tami Weissert: As we continue this series on the Holy Spirit, Wood, there's a book you recommend called The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit by R. A. Torrey.
Woodrow Kroll: Yes, Torrey was a pastor. He was an evangelist. He was an author who wrote this book back about the turn of the 20th century but he wrote it to quell some controversies about the Holy Spirit, the same controversies that we deal with today. Now, Torrey felt that to correctly understand the work of the Holy Spirit, you must first understand the Person of the Holy Spirit. So it's from that perspective that The Work and Person of the Holy Spirit was written.
Tami Weissert: And really, his book still speaks to us today.
Woodrow Kroll: Oh, very much so! It's a very personal introduction to the Person of the Spirit of God.
Tami Weissert: It's a great book to put on your reading list and we have it available right now, right here at Back to the Bible. So if you'd like to order a copy, give us a call at 1-800-759-2425.
Well today, we talked about how the Holy Spirit influences us, and tomorrow's study centers on how the Spirit guides us. So Wood, that sounds pretty similar. Explain the difference.
Woodrow Kroll: Well, you know, it's kind of like having GPS for your car. That female voice says, "Turn right," and you turn right. It has influenced you. But you could just as easily turn left. You know, maybe men--it's even more difficult to turn right when the female voice says, "Turn right." (Laughter) You could say, "Yes, I hear you but I just feel like I ought to turn left." That's influence.
Guidance is when you say, "Holy Spirit, I can't drive this thing. I can't drive my life. I need you to give me turn-by-turn directions and I'll obey them every time. That's guidance, not just influence.
Tami Weissert: OK, I'm going to look forward to this one tomorrow then.
Woodrow Kroll: Well, it's a good thing to know that you can be guided daily by the Holy Spirit of God. And you know what? There aren't any of us who don't need that kind of guidance. Maybe you need it especially right now. I hope that you'll plan to join us tomorrow as we think about what it means for the Spirit of God to guide you through your life. You're going to find this interesting. Plan to join us, won't you?
Thanks for being here today. God bless you. I'm Woodrow Kroll. Have a good and godly day good and godly day.